Facebook's Chatbot Talks Like a Human

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Facebook's Chatbot Talks Like a Human
Number 1113
Broadcast Date APRIL 29, 2020
Episode Length 5:35
Hosts Tom Merritt

Facebook launches a chatbot it says can converse like a human, Alphabet earnings better than expected and Google Meet now free.


Alphabet reported Q1 revenue up 13 percent and net income up 1.5%. Profit was affected by a slowdown in ad revenue in March. YouTube revenue rose 33 percent to $4 billion and Cloud revenue rose 55 percent to $2.8 billion. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said video conferencing service Google Meet has been growing at 3 million new users a day, up from 2 million last month. Alphabet's "other bets", all its non-Google companies, lost $1.1 billion. Alphabet expects Q2 to be difficult for its advertising business.
Google made its enterprise video conferencing service Google Meet available for free to anyone with a Google account. Meetings can have up to 100 participants. After September 30, Google may limit free meetings to 60 minutes. The free version does not offer phone-in options. Google Meet will also be integrated into Gmail.
Apple added COVID-19 test sites to its Apple Maps in the US. Apple also updated its Mobility Trends site which offers data on how people are moving around in order to assist local governments with lockdown policy. The update includes improved regionalization like state or province-level search and more cities available to review.
Facebook has open-sourced a chatbot called Blender it claims can talk about nearly anything. Blender was trained on 1.5 billion publicly available Reddit conversations. It was then refined with additional data sets for conversations that contain emotion, information-dense conversations like with an expert, and conversations between people with distinct personas for personality. The model is so big it needs two chips to run. Facebook claims Blender is more engaging and human than Google's Meena bot launched in January. Blender fooled human evaluators 49% of the time into thinking its conversations were more human than human ones if the conversations are kept short. Blender also occasionally makes up facts since it uses correlations not a knowledge base.
Google launched Shoelace in 2019 as a way for people to find group activities with people in the area who shared interests. It was available on iOS in New York City. Google has decided to shut down Shoelace as of May 12.
YouTube has been showing information from fact checkers when users in India and Brazil search for certain topics. YouTube will now show those facts checking panels in the United States too. YouTube has more than a dozen US publishers, like FactCheck.org and Politifact in its network and is open to any member of the International Fact-Checking Network.
Uber's longest-serving executive, CTO Thuan Pham is leaving the company according to an SEC filing. The Information's sources say Uber is considering layoffs that could affect up to 20 percent of its employees. Uber has said its ride-hailing business has fallen by 70%. The Information reports food delivery has not made up the difference.
UK food delivery service Deliveroo says it will cut more than 350 of its staff, around 15% of its global workforce in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Deliveroo blamed the impacts of the virus which have caused many restaurants to close down altogether, and customers to cook more rather than order delivery.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected two patents where the AI system Dabus was listed as the inventor. Dabus's creator Stephen Thale said the system came up with designs for interlocking food containers and a rhythm for a hard to ignore warning light on its own, so he felt it would be inaccurate to list himself as the inventor. US patent law says an inventor has to be an individual not a corporation, and an AI is neither. In this ruling, the USPTO said the inventor must be a "natural person." The ruling may be appealed.
Austria's AMS which makes power and lighting sensors for mobile, medical, and other devices forecast a profit margin of 17-20% for Q2 after reaching revenue of $501 million and a 20% profit margin in the quarter ending in March. AMS is continuing with its acquisition of car headlight maker Osram.
Samsung declined to give an annual forecast due to uncertainty over the economic climate. It believes its memory chip sales will be strong due to PC and server sales, but smartphones and TVs might not sell well due to a possible dip in consumer spending. Samsung's operating profit rose 3% in Q1 on strong chip sales.
Spotify reported a positive net income of $1 million with a rise of 31% paid users and 32% ad-supported users. Listening patterns changed so that every day now looks like the weekend according to Spotify.
AMD reported revenue growth of 40 percent year over year driven by a 73% rise in computing and graphics revenue from strong Risen and Radeon sales. AMD lowered its annual revenue forecast from 30% to 25% growth, due to an expected drop in consumer demand in the second half.
LG reported a 21.1 percent operating profit increase over last year and its highest Q1 profit margin ever at 7.4 percent. LG saw strong sales of home appliances and TVs. Smartphone sales fell 34 percent. LG plans to control production and marketing costs to guard against decreased demand the rest of the year.


Preceded by:
"Instagram and TikTok Launch Donation Features"
Facebook's Chatbot Talks Like a Human
Followed by:
"Apple and Google Deliver First Version of Contact Tracing App to Devs"